The number one song on the contemporary Christian music charts is “Reckless Love” written by Caleb Culver, Cory Asbury, and Ran Jackson and published by Bethel Music. You’ve probably heard it on a Christian radio station. It has some wonderful lyrics:
Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me
You have been so, so good to me
Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me
You have been so, so kind to me
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn't earn it, and I don't deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah
We sing it at our church as do thousands of other churches. My concern is the central theme of the song and the title. Is God and His love “reckless?” Webster’s Online Dictionary defines reckless as, “marked by lack of proper caution, careless of consequences, irresponsible.” Other dictionaries include synonymous terms like “foolhardy, disobedient to rules or laws.” Really? Does “reckless” apply to God in His person, character, or acts? No! It does not describe the God of the Bible at all. He is a God of purpose, character, and intentionality. He does nothing recklessly. He is not a God of chaos nor is He irresponsible. His creation reflects His intentionality.
I respect the lyricists of “Reckless Love.” I think they have great hearts for God which is clear from the balance of the words they’ve chosen. “Reckless” is, in my opinion, a poor choice, both doctrinally and practically, to describe the love of God. What would be a better choice of words? I propose “relentless.” God loves us relentlessly. His love pursues us relentlessly. C. S. Lewis called God the “Hound of Heaven” because, like a hound in hunt of his prey, God relentlessly pursues us until He captures us. The primary way He does that? Through His love. His love is unrelenting (Romans 8:38, 39, 1 Timothy 1:13, 14).
So, don’t throw the song away simply because of one poor choice in words. Rather do what I intend to do, substitute “relentless” love of God for “reckless” love of God as you sing the song. Then you’ll be singing the correct word both doctrinally and practically.
Yes, I know you’re thinking I’m an old fuddy, duddy. I’m really not but I do want to live out the Bible in my life no matter what,